Shane Baz, the Pirates’ selection with the 12th overall pick in the MLB Draft on Monday night, spoke with reporters including Bucs Dugout’s Kurt Hackimer. Here’s what he had to say:
Were the Pirates in communication with you leading up to the draft?
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Yeah, a little bit throughout the course of the season. They talked to my dad quite a bit. I had a meeting with them before the season started. They kept in contact. Wayne Mathis, the area scout, was awesome.
How excited are you to come into a system where you know Ke’Bryan Hayes?
It’s a plus. I’ve been blessed enough to know Ke’ and I know to reach out to him if I ever need anything.
Where did you watch the draft and what was your reaction to the pick?
I was at a restaurant by my house with my family and some of my friends there. It was indescribable to hear the commissioner call your name.
Where are you in terms of your commitment to TCU?
I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m just enjoying this for now. I’ll have to speak with my advisor and go over that another time.
The Pirates have had success with tall right-handers like you, are they a team you fit well with?
Yeah, absolutely, but I didn’t pick them, they picked me. They have an awesome track record and I was definitely honored they picked me. They’ve got to have one of the best systems in baseball, if not the best.
How big of a thrill is this for you?
It means everything, not just to me but to my family and friends. It means the world.
Can you describe your cutter/slider?
I started throwing it last summer, about a week into the summer, early June, and I just had a natural feel for it as soon as I picked it up. It was really, really awesome that I picked it up, and it came really naturally. ... I had a feel for it right away.
Is there a pitcher you model yourself after, or anybody you looked up to as a kid?
I like to watch Corey Kluber a lot. I like to watch Lance McCullers, guys like that. I don’t try to model my game after people, but I definitely love to watch baseball and pick things up from guys.
What was high school like as a two-way player?
It was a blast. It was a lot of fun to try to help my team win in any way possible. It was awesome to be a part of a team every day, hitting every game. I love to hit, and it was a lot of fun.
How much did you read about yourself leading up to the draft?
I didn’t read at all. I didn’t look at that stuff. It’s hard not to hear stuff from people, but I just kind of looked past it. I know who I am and I know what I can do, and I just trusted myself.
Did you have a sense for when you would be drafted?
No. I had a general idea. I didn’t know for sure, obviously. I don’t know if anybody (knew). I was just lucky enough to hit a sweet spot with the Pirates.
What made TCU the right choice as a college?
The development, coaching staff and obviously the education.
How familiar are you with the Pirates outside of Ke’Bryan?
I haven’t really been on my phone yet. I’m sure he sent me a text or reached out to me somehow. I’ve definitely got to send him a text, too, and let him know we’re going to be together, (we’re going to be) Bucs.